‘Golfers elbow’ like ‘tennis elbow’ has become a generic term to account for pain on the inside (medial) side of the elbow (tennis elbow being on the outside).
Sources of pain
The most common source of medial elbow pain is inflammation of the forearm tendons where they attach just above the medial aspect of the elbow. This is usually caused by overuse: repetitive rotation, for example, top spin in tennis and golf, or using a screwdriver; repetitive flexion and extension of the elbow, for example with hammering or throwing.
Another (amusing!!) cause of tendon inflammation is golfers that hit the hard ground instead of the ball!! Hence the name.
Less common sources of medial elbow pain include:
- Ligament sprain – which can occur with vigorous and repetitive throwing
- Bony injuries
- Elbow joint degeneration
- Nerve damage
- Referral from the neck or mid-spine
Pain is localised to the medial aspect of the elbow, although if pain is due to referral from another structure, pain may spread elsewhere.
Pain is usually aggravated by bending the wrist forwards; rotation of the forearm – especially in the top spin direction or using a screwdriver; gripping and lifting; repetitive flexion-extension of the elbow, eg hammering and throwing.
Treatment will consist of a variety of modalities, including deep massage and stretching, electrotherapy, and advice on rest and the use of ice packs.
The GP may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.
A home regime will consist of stretching and strengthening exercises, and advice on chosen activities, together with addressing specific techniques that may be the cause of the pain.
Any other structure involved in causing the symptoms will be addressed.
If no relief is achieved with physiotherapy, the GP may recommend a cortisone injection.
Full recovery of medial elbow pain is usually expected with the above methods of treatment. As with most conditions, the earlier the symptoms are addressed, the quicker the recovery.
If you have any queries or would like further advice on this subject or any other, please contact me via the contact page.